artsNK has teamed up with Framework/On Track North Kesteven, a local charity which tackles the causes and consequences of homelessness, to involve residents based at their supported accommodation unit at Sleaford Foyer.
The workshops on Thursday and Friday at the National Centre for Craft and Design are inspired by the new Second Sitter’s exhibition ‘Upholstery: Evolution to Revolution’, which opened on Saturday and features creative work from UK upholsterers.
artsNK commissioned socially engaged artist Katie Smith from Boston and ‘Guerrilla’ upholsterer Mick Sheridan from Swansea, whose work features in the exhibition, to work with the Framework residents.
Mick, who likes to dot his reclaimed pieces in unlikely public locations, took the men and women through the process of upholstering a footstool to accompany a sofa donated by QFC furniture manufacturers of Grantham, to which they added stitched fabric ‘statements’ exploring the theme of home and homeless, guided by Katie.
Marion Sander, Visual Arts Development Coordinator at artsNK, commented: “A sofa really means comfort and home and everything you associate with a normal life, but for people who are homeless, it is the object that is missing from their life. We used that to explore their stories.”
The items will be displayed in the NCCD and then at the Framework premises.
Susan Cake-Taylor, a Framework support planner, said: “Everyone has learned a new skill and the artists have been really interested in their individual stories and the ideas of breaking down some of the stigma attached to homelessness.
“Framework’s part in this fantastic project hopes to raise awareness of homelessness and the support available in Sleaford, encouraging others to think about the issues faced by vulnerable people today.”
Katie often works with marginalised communites, using stitching to express their situation. She felt privileged to work with them: “It is a massive effort for some to come to a building like this and they have worked hard.”
Mick Sheridan agreed saying the project and homelessness is something he feels passionate about.